Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Sunday Salon: When It Rains...


You know that old saying... and lately it applies not only to the weather, but also my out-of-control library queue.

As to the weather,  the rain actually started in late June. After several days of torrential downpours, a couple of towns in the area experienced severe flooding. FEMA has recently stepped up with federal aid for the victims, but the rain keeps falling. Not constantly, but a storm seems to roll in every afternoon.


We are on relatively high ground, but a few streets in our village flooded and the lake's water level reached an unprecedented high last week. This prompted the town to declare a state of emergency for the lake on Wednesday and order a 'no wake' zone, prohibiting motorized watercraft. An eerie silence descended over the water on a beautiful summer evening ... no motors in the distance, no shrieks of laughter from kids water-skiing or tubing, no conversations between fishermen carried unknowingly over the water... just the sound of birds, waves, and the occasional kayak paddle. So peaceful!

The water has now receded to a high normal level, but we have yet to receive word that the state of emergency has been lifted, although there were a few boats on the lake yesterday evening.


Now, about that library queue...

As I have been glued to The Woman Upstairs all week, several of my library holds arrived at the same time. I thought I was picking up Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (finally, after months of waiting), but when I got to the circulation desk, they also had The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel and Life After Life by Jill McCorkle ready to go. {I don't think I've ever had two books with the same title by different authors before!}

When I got home, there was an email informing me that e-book holds of The Dinner by Herman Koch and Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo were available.

All those books... and I had been planning on starting Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner for Heavenali's Brookner Reading Month and The Whole Fromage by Kathe Lison for Paris in July.

So, what's a reader to do?

Someone mentioned in passing this week that it would be great if library hold lists worked like Netflix, and I heartily agree! I'm considering returning them all and starting over again.

Here's the plan for now...  I read the first chapter of Hotel du Lac last evening and want to continue. I'm intrigued by the story and really like the writing. Since it's on my kindle and I prefer e-reading at bedtime, I'm several chapters into The Dinner, too. They will be the books I concentrate on this week. Then, we'll see if I can carve out enough time for the others before they are overdue.

What will you be reading this week?

33 comments:

  1. I like the Netflix idea! but it probably wouldn't work in our town(s). We belong to a library network with about 30 towns, and you can either request a specific library's copy (though why would you, I wonder?) or put yourself in line for the next available copy from wherever it arrives first. So this sometimes means that you can 148th in line for a book and still get a sooner than you'd ever guess (that happened to me once!) but the books all still seem to come in at once. The other thing they let us do is 'freeze' a request (I have no idea how this works, but you can let the book go to someone else and then regain your place in line. I've done that when I've gone away or when I'm already stacked up with books. I'm looking longingly at your lake as we get ready for heatwave no. 2. It was nice to have a break from it for the last two days.
    Happy reading (and reading, and reading...)

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    1. Audrey - It sounds like our library systems operate pretty similarly. I just looked into the 'freeze' option and suspended all my pending holds until I catch up... that might take a while!

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  2. I'm almost finished with my Kate Atkinson, Case Hstories. Will probably start both A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises today. Like you, I have too many book choices right now! I want to read Hotel du Lac; have heard good things. Have fun with your book abundance :)

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    1. Terri B. - It took me a while to get into A Moveable Feast, but I ended up liking it a lot and followed up immediately with The Paris Wife. The Sun Also Rises is next on my Hemingway list. I picked up a copy of Case Histories at the library book sale last summer... hope you're enjoying it!

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  3. We are still hoping for rain here - you have too much, and we don't have enough. I've never seen a drought like this in my 20 years in Texas.

    We can also "freeze" requests in our system, and I've started doing that. The problem I have is that books look so interesting and readable, and then when I get them home, I ignore them in favor of either TBR books or re-reading.

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    1. Lisa - It's strange how the weather seems to be so extreme lately... certainly wish we could send some of this rain to Texas!

      I just discovered my library's freeze option (thanks to Audrey) and have suspended the rest of my holds until I'm caught up, or I give up ;-)

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  4. Glad that the water levels are dropping now, flooding is horrible to even think of because of all the damage it can cause.
    Whenever I reserve things at the library, they all come in all at once. It's frustrating, but I also love being surrounded by amazing books...

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    1. Sam - That's definitely putting a positive spin on things! It makes me happy to see all those books piled up and waiting, too :-)

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  5. How often I have faced this dilemma. Hotel du Lac goes so quickly, even though I read it carefully. It's brilliant and deeply effecting. It was a reading experience I'll always treasure, and it's not often I say that about a book. It's my favorite of this year so far.

    The Dinner reads quickly as well, though here again, I read it carefully, deliberately.

    I tried to like Life after Life, but it didn't agree with me, so I ended up giving it up more than a third of the way through. But don't let me discourage you about it, by all means!

    I'll be eager to hear about your choices!

    Judith

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    1. Judith - I can already tell I'll want to read Hotel du Lac at a leisurely pace, so will do that even if I can't finish before the end of the month. I ended up reading half of The Dinner yesterday... such an unusual book. Hope to finish this week.

      You are the second person I've heard from in as many days to give up on Life After Life. That won't discourage me, but will certainly temper my expectations... and that's a good thing!

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  6. Our library has a choice where you can suspend your hold, so your still on the list but you don't get it until your ready.

    I am reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King and enjoying it immensely. It's my first book by him!

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    1. Elizabeth - After reading Audrey's comment above, I discovered that same feature on my library's website! I'll make better use of that in the future.

      I haven't read Stephen King since college, but 11/22/63 really appeals to me. Read a sample on my kindle several months ago and have it earmarked for my next vacation.

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  7. I hope that you guys have some relief soon! We're at the opposite end of the spectrum as we're in Stage 3 drought and many of our lakes are severely down. We are projected to have rain all this week so hopefully that will help a little. If nothing else it's been nice to be a bit cooler--we don't even have our A/C running right now!

    I'll be reading Life After Life next for book club. I'm curious but also a bit afraid because of all of the hype. Trying to go into it with an open mind!

    Hope it's a great week for you!

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    1. Trish - It seems like the weather has been so extreme lately... no happy medium for anyone. I hope you get that much-needed rain this week.

      If it's any help, I've heard from 2 people that recently DNF'd Life After Life. That will hopefully counteract some of the hype. I'll be curious to see what you think. Have also heard that the audio production is very good, too. Not sure if that's an option you're considering.

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  8. I going to be curious to read your thoughts on The Woman Upstairs (I finished it yesterday) and liked it but didn't love it. Hotel du Lac was a book I recall liking when I read it on vacation 5-6 years ago -enjoy.

    (I am weird as I can actually remember the books that were hauled off on vacations...LOL)

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    1. Diane - I'm not sure how to review The Woman Upstairs, but I loved it... such wonderful writing! It's funny, but I seem to remember 'vacation' books much better, too.

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  9. the weather has certainly been wreaking havoc with many states and people's lives!! That almost always happens to me when I put books on hold!! Enjoy!

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    1. Staci - I wonder if your library has the 'freeze' feature that Audrey mentions above. I'll certainly make use of that now!

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  10. I hope you get some relief from the rain soon, though it does sound peaceful to have a quiet lake. Flooding would be awful :(

    Oh my word, tons of books at once! That's great and awful at the same time. I love the idea of Netflix for books. I wish I had a freeze option for my holds like some of the other folks have commented about here. Love that idea too! As for now I'm on a self-imposed library ban until I get a handle on my stacks at home!

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers is INCREDIBLE. Don't return it! :D

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    1. Jennifer - I really want to read Behind the Beautiful Forevers. A friend of mine suggested putting my kindle on airplane mode so the ebooks don't disappear before I get the chance to read them!

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  11. The Dinner is on hold for me at the library. Last time I looked I was 8th in line. I'm hoping it doesn't come sooner as several things came in all at once and I felt swamped. Looking forward to your thoughts on The Dinner. Have a peaceful week!

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    1. Kaye - I actually read almost half of The Dinner yesterday... quick reading, but very unusual. Not exactly sure where it's headed. Hope all is well in Florida!

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  12. Your weather sounds absolutely crazy! I wish we could take a little bit of that rain off of your hands. We've had about 2 inches all year and everything is dead and brown.

    I am in terrible shape with my reading right now. I read Night Film which was the most awesome book I've read in such a long time that I cannot even write the review or read another book right now. I really need to find a good one to sink my teeth into because I feel a rut coming on. I have The Dinner but it's not pulling me in quickly.

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    1. Ti - Our rain ended abruptly and now we're in a heat wave - this is crazy! The Dinner may not be for you. I found myself drawn in from the very beginning. Off the see what Night Film is about...

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  13. We're in the same situation with weather. They declared a state of emergency in the next city over from here. They flooded big time and there are billions of dollars of damage. Our river was rising too but then the pouring rain tapered off. It has rained almost everyday though and today literally poured. It's crazy. I hope both of ours settles down.

    As for reading - enjoy. There are always too many choices and definitely not enough time to read all that we'd like to.

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    1. Darlene - I don't know what's going on with the weather lately... hope the flooding in your area subsides quickly. I had an unplanned trip to visit my daughter this week, so got in a little bonus reading time during travel.

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  14. Now this is why I've stopped going to the library these days!

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    1. Lisa - I may cancel all of my holds and just start over again... hopefully exercising a little more restraint this time ;-)

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  15. Thanks for the tip about the Brookner reading month...I'm also doing The Odyssey with Allie at A Literary Odyssey this month so not sure if I can fit it in though....

    I read The Dinner and loved it in an 'urgh I seriously dislike these characters but their story is compelling' kind of way!

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    1. Brona - Can't begin to tell you how much The Odyssey scares me, but I hope you are enjoying it. I finished The Dinner tonight and had the same reaction!

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  16. We have now gone from torrential rains to hot, hot, hot. I'd love about 3 nice summer days. Oh well. Looks like you have some good reading ahead. Enjoy.

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    1. Beth F - Same here... what kind of summer is this?? I'm staying with my daughter in NYC for a few day, but it's not a great time to be in the city!

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  17. Wish we were getting some of that rain!

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